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R.I.P. Don Cornelius

“… and you can bet your last money, it’s all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!”

Those words closed every episode of a show that many of us soul and r&b fans grew up with. Of course, I’m talking about Soul Train and the man that will forever be associated with the iconic musical variety show, Mr. Don Cornelius. Cornelius sadly passed away this morning in Los Angeles and we want to take this opportunity to recognize a cultural icon that turned many of us on to the likes of James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Al Green.

Soul Train first aired on October 1971 and ran through March of 2006 earning it the credit as the “longest-running, first-run, nationally syndicated program in television history,” boasting over 1,100 episodes in its 35-year history. Cornelius created the show, was the executive producer and was the original host until 1993.

Cornelius started out as a journalist and recognized that, in the late 60s, there was no televised venue for America’s thriving soul and r&b music scene. By creating Soul Train, he exposed many soul artists to a much wider audience and also made the airwaves a little more funky. Thanks Don, you’ll be missed.

For some great clips of classic Soul Train moments, be sure to check out the Soul Train YouTube Channel.

In his memory, we’ve put together a list of some events coming up that Don would’ve dug. Get out there, support your local soul scene and shake it like you’re one of the Soul Train dancers.

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